by Jeff Skinner
Our buzz from our Masters hangover continues today as we head into another weekend of fine golf being played around the world. There is early morning coverage of the European Tour’s Mayback Malaysian Open on The Golf Channel. That is followed by the Champions Tour’s Greater Gwinnett Championship where The Coolest Guy in Golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez makes his Champions Tour debut.
Any chance to see Miguel strut his stuff, stretching and stogie included, is a treat for all of us. After that it’s the RBC Heritage from classic Harbour Town Golf Links with Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth trying to rid themselves of their own Masters hangovers.
And to top off a very full day of golf coverage the LPGA is spending the week in Hawaii for the LPGA Lotte Championship. The Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu is Michelle Wie’s home course and she is in contention this week. Ko Olina holds a special place for me as it was the first course in Hawaii I was able to play. My brothers and I were lucky enough to play it a few years back and we even had a “Michelle Sighting” while we were there. Great choice Bro.
Even with all that golf and a quick eighteen myself today, I am struggling with this heavy duty Masters Hangover. Especially when I read articles like these two. ESPN’s Bob Harig gives us the skinny on the behind the scenes action at Augusta National and all the new improvements they made this year and some inside info on the workings of the club.
Unlike many too-hyped places in a jaded world, Augusta National has this way of impressing time and again. Yes, the club has struggled with progressive issues over the years and it might be a bit too stuffy and elitist for the tastes of some.
But in putting on a golf tournament, in opening its doors to the outside world and welcoming thousands upon thousands onto the grounds each day of tournament week, the place never ceases to amaze.
Augusta National is one of the richest clubs in the world and they don’t sit on their cash. Sarah Max details many of the clubs recent actions for improvements to the club which includes buying almost anything that borders The National and even loaning the town of Augusta $20 million to widen Berckmans Road which borders the club.
Ah, traffic. Those who followed Augusta National’s assembly of land marveled at the trouble and cost for a parking lot. In late 2013, it became clear that there’s more to it. Now the club is eager to improve the traffic flow in and out of the area. Late last year, Augusta National said it would give the city of Augusta an interest-free loan to expedite the widening and realignment of Berckmans Road, which runs north and south, along the club’s original property line. Augusta National will prefund the $20 million project, which will ultimately be paid for by a 1 percent regional sales tax, says Steven Cassell, a traffic engineer for the city of Augusta. Under the new plan, which is scheduled to be completed by the 2016 Masters, the intersection of Berckmans and Washington will be moved about a third of a mile west. It will also improve the grade of Berckmans Road near Augusta National, which could allow for pedestrian underpasses between parking and the club.
Augusta National is an amazing place with visionary leadership focused on improving the club, the Masters and the game of golf. It’s no wonder my Masters hangover lasts longer each year.